# Selecting the Pump. Let s look at example 2, 40 GPM at 38 feet of head. The curve family shows the. Figure 1, A Typical Family of Curves

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1 Selecting the Pump Once the GPM and pump head are known, we can proceed with the actual pump selection. Pumps may be selected either manually using pump curves, or with software such as Taconet. To use software intelligently, however, it is first necessary to understand the manual selection procedure. Generally you will know the pump type that you would like to apply based on the considerations discussed in the pump construction section. At other times, you may not be sure. For example, you may want to use a 1900 in-line pump based on the lower cost vs. a KV vertical in-line. However, you are not sure your conditions can be met with a 1900 pump. In either case a performance field for a given line of pumps provides a starting point. This generalized curve is not a detailed pump curve---it is simply a roadmap to tell you which specific pumps fit your flow and head requirements. The performance field below covers Taco 1900 series pumps. Example 1: 40 GPM at 30 feet. What pump does the performance field recommend? Example 2: 40 GPM at 38 feet. What pump does the performance field recommend? Example 3: 200 GPM at 45 feet. What pump does the performance field recommend? Let s look at example 2, 40 GPM at 38 feet of head. The curve family shows the Figure 1, A Typical Family of Curves 1

2 Figure 2, Taco 1919 Pump Curve Let s look at Example 2, 40 GPM at 38 feet of head. The curve family shows the 1919 as a possible selection. At this point we must turn to a detailed curve for that pump, as shown above. Note the series of bold curves sloping downward from left to right. These curves represent the flow vs. head performance of the 1919 pump with different impeller diameters. Specifically, the curve shows performance for diameters of 7.90, 7.60, 6.60, and 6.20 diameters (see the graph s left side, just inside the hatched area). These are not the only impeller diameters available. Impellers may be trimmed to any diameter between 6.20 and The four nominal diameters shown serve only as reference curves to allow interpolation. In addition to the bold flow vs. head performance curves, note the efficiency fields ( u-shaped curves ) and the BHP curves (dashed and sloping from upper left to lower right). BHP means Brake Horsepower in is the actual power used. To evaluate this selection, we 1. Plot the desired flow and head point on the pump curve 2. By interpolation, determine The required impeller diameter BHP Efficiency 2

3 To make the final selection perform the steps above for any curves that you want to consider and choose the best selection. Pump Selection Hints 1. When several pumps will do the job, the most efficient selection is usually the best. 2. Do not extrapolate beyond the largest impeller shown on the curve. The max impeller shown is the largest that fits in the casing! 3. Do not extrapolate beyond the right end of the curve. Pump operation will be erratic, with unstable flows and heads. 4. Do not extrapolate below the minimum impeller size. However, if your selection falls just below the minimum impeller size, you may use that pump by adding false head. This can be accomplished in the field by partially closing a balancing valve thereby artificially increasing the head that the pump sees. 5. Try to find a selection close to the best efficiency curve. Selections just to the left of the best efficiency point allow for some runout, and are good selections. However, if your conditions do not favor a high efficiency selection, any point on Taco s published curves will work. Examples 4 and 5 On the curve below, plot the flow vs. head point. Then record impeller diameter, BHP, and efficiency. Also calculate the BHP from the flow, head and efficiency: 4) head (water) 5)70 head (water) 3

5 I. Pump Flow and Head Corrections for Viscosity 30-50% Ethylene and Propylene Glycols Less Than 100 GPM 100 GPM + Glycol/ Temp, o -F Flow Correction Head Correction Flow Correction Ethylene, 40 o Ethylene, 190 o Propylene, 40 o Propylene, 190 o Head Correction II. Pump Power Correction for Specific Gravity 30-50% Ethylene and Propylene Glycols Temp o -F 30% EG 40% EG 50% EG 30% PG 40% PG 50% PG IIIA. Pump Power Correction for Viscosity ( Based on 40 o -F Ethylene Glycol) For 30%/ 40%/ 50% Ethylene Glycol Solutions by Volume at 40 o -F Pump Head in Feet Flow Rate, GPM /1.11/ /1.05/ /1.04/ /1.02/ /1.04/ /1.03/ /1.02/ /1.01/ /1.04/ /1.02/ /1.01/ /1.00/ /1.02/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/1.00 IIIB. Pump Power Correction for Viscosity ( Based on 40 o -F Propylene Glycol) For 30%/ 40%/ 50% Propylene Glycol Solutions by Volume at 40 o -F Pump Head in Feet Flow Rate, GPM /1.22/ /1.19/ /1.13/ /1.10/ /1.11/ /1.08/ /1.05/ /1.03/ /1.08/ /1.04/ /1.02/ /1.00/ /1.04/ /1.02/ /1.01/ /1.00/ /1.03/ /1.01/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/ /1.00/1.01 Note that no power corrections are required for viscosity of glycol solutions for heating systems, as the viscosity of hotter glycol solutions is relatively low. The Brake Horsepower Formula for Pumps Efficiency and BHP are related by the following formula: BHP = GPM X Head in Feet 3960 X Eff. for water 5

6 And: BHP = GPM X Head in Feet X S.G. where S.G. is specific gravity of the fluid 3960 X Eff. for other fluids such as glycol mixtures. NPSH (Net Positive Suction Head) NPSH is undoubtedly one of the most misunderstood factors in the pump selection process. The pump NPSH consideration is actually not a difficult concept once you understand two essential concepts: 1. We tend to think that water boils at 212 F, which is true at atmospheric pressure at sea level. In reality, water boils at different temperatures depending upon its pressure. The table below shows the relationship. The pressure at which water boils at a given temperature is called its vapor pressure. A graph of vapor pressure vs. temperature appears on page 14. Hg Vacuum PSIG Approx. Boiling Temp, F As the pump discharges water from the impeller, it creates a low pressure zone at the eye. If this pressure drops to the water s vapor pressure, the water will begin to boil. Obviously, this is more likely to happen if the pump is pumping hot water than if it is pumping cool water. 2. The second principle is that a pump is designed to handle pure liquid, not boiling liquid, which is a mixture of liquid and vapor (steam in the case of water). What happens when water begins to vaporize as it is drawn into the pump? Vapor bubbles begin to form, just as they do when you boil water on your stove. As the fluid moves into the vanes of the impeller, it picks up energy from centripetal acceleration ( centrifugal force ). This causes an increase in the pressure of the boiling liquid. This causes the bubble to implode (collapse 6

7 violently). The process of bubbles forming then collapsing violently is called cavitation. When a pump experiences cavitation: - Performance falls off. - The pump sounds as if it is pumping marbles or gravel (Some people have actually opened up their pumps to find out how the heck the gravel got in!). Depending on severity and pump size, the noise can be anywhere from annoying to frightening. - The impeller and perhaps the casing begin to suffer damage. This happens when the bubbles implode so violently that the water chips away at the metal surfaces. In extreme cases, holes are worn in the impeller, eventually resulting in a swiss cheese appearance to the impeller surfaces. Cavitation normally is a concern only in open systems. The diagram below shows the forces that determine the pressure on the water at the lowest pressure point of the system, the entrance to the impeller. 7

8 Atmospheric pressure: The pressure from the atmosphere is a positive force of 14.7 PSIA at sea level. 1 The factor to convert PSI to feet of water is 2.31, so the atmospheric pressure is 14.7 X 2.31 = feet at sea level. Static height: This is the height of the water level above the pump inlet. The greater this height, the more positive force is exerted on the water. (Note that if the pump must lift water from a reservoir, that the static height becomes a negative value). Inlet friction: Strainers, piping, valves and other accessories all cause a pressure drop, contributing to a lower pressure. NPSHr (NPSH Required) of the pump: The NPSHr is basically a pressure drop within the pump inlet. The NPSHr for any given pump depends only on the flow rate. The NPSHr appears on the pump curve, either as a separate curve or as a value printed across the top of the curve (Taco uses the latter method). Note that the following factors contribute to low pressure at the inlet: Low static height of the water column above the inlet (or a suction lift) High inlet friction The following factors that result in higher pressure at the inlet: Large static height Low inlet friction Avoiding Cavitation To avoid cavitation, we must select the pump to ensure that the water does not fall below its vapor pressure. From the force diagram above, and remembering that the NPSHr of a pump is essentially another pressure loss, we ensure this when: Atmospheric Pressure + Static Height Inlet Friction NPSHr is greater than the Vapor Pressure of the water at the temperature being pumped. Mathematically, with all values expressed in feet of head, this becomes: Static Height-Inlet Friction-NPSHr >Vp Equation 1 This equation is normally rewritten by rearranging terms: 1 For elevations that vary significantly from sea level, it is important to note that atmospheric pressure drops rapidly with altitude. For example, it is 11.8 PSIA at 6,000 feet and 10.1 PSIA at 10,000 feet. 8

9 Static Height Inlet Friction Vp > NPSHr Equation 2 We need one more modification to the formula to make it practical. We would like to have about a bit of a safety factor (this will be discussed more later). Therefore, we can modify the formula as follows: Static Height Inlet Friction Vp- > NPSHr + safety Equation 3 2 The sum of the terms on the left of the equation is called the NPSH available or NPSHa. If this formula is satisfied, that is if NPSHa > NPSHr, then the selected pump should be a good selection as far as NPSH and cavitation are concerned. 3 Fluid Handling developed the following graph showing vapor pressure vs. temperature for water. This simplifies the vapor pressure determination. Figure 4 2 To be absolutely accurate, both the terms and Vp should be divided by S.G. of the water at the pumped temperature. However, it is common to ignore this for all but the most critical applications, as it is common to ignore the effects of impeller trim and temperature rise due to energy added by the pump. 9

10 NPSH Safety Factors To ensure that Net Positive Suction Head issues will not affect a pump s performance a safety factor should be applied. For smaller pumps (6 inlet and down) pumping non-aerated cool water, a safety factor or 2-3 is probably sufficient. However, larger pumps and pumps pumping cooling tower water (and other aerated water) require special consideration. Here are some reasons. Air Entrainment in the Fluid Stream. Though air entrainment does not affect NPSH, in the chapter on air separation you will learn that air tends to separate from liquid at reduced pressures. The suction area of the pump is a low pressure area of the system. When air disengages from the water in this area, it mimics NPSH problem. This makes sense. True NPSH problems result from vapor bubbles forming and air release results in air bubbles forming---and pumps don t like to pump bubbles! Air entrainment is always present in cooling tower applications! Water Chemistry: Cooling tower chemical treatment can significantly reduce the vapor pressure of the water. The size of the pump inlet: Large pumps have more critical issues, as the mere size of the pump results in more severe vibration and noise than problems in smaller pumps when cavitation is present. The Pump Specific Suction Speed: Pumps with higher specific suction speeds require higher safety factors. Total flow is a component in the specific speed calculation, so larger pumps are affected to a greater degree than small ones. The best treatment of the subject appears to be Hydraulic Institute s publication ANSI/HI This publication outlines a complex procedure for determining NPSH safety factors for open systems, especially cooling tower systems. In the interest of simplification, it is probably good practice to use a 1.5 NPSHr safety factor for cooling tower applications with inlets larger than 6. 3 Remember that all equations are based on sea level. For high elevations, the atmospheric pressure must be adjusted for local conditions! Note that there may be times when you wish to reduce the safety factor of 2. That is up to you, but selecting tight may result in problems as field conditions may vary from ideal. 10

11 When a Selection Is Not Suitable If the initial pump selection is not suitable from an NPSH standpoint, consider these of possible solutions: Select a larger pump. Oversized pumps operate on the left areas of their curves, where NPSHr is lower. Select a lower speed pump. Lower speed pumps usually have lower NPSHr requirements for a given flow/head requirement, as the inlet size is relatively large for a given flow rate. Reduce the inlet friction: Do away with unnecessary valves, accessories and fittings; oversize the inlet piping. Lower the temperature, if practical. Raise the receiver to increase the static height above the suction connection. Use a low NPSH pump with a propeller inducer. This is a small propeller installed before the eye of the main impeller. Pumps made specifically for high temperature condensate and vertical multi-stage pumps often have such inducers. Field Considerations Sometimes a properly selected pump cavitates when placed in service. There are usually two conditions that cause this: 1. The flow is not balanced, causing the pump to run out (to operate in the high flow areas of the curve). This is high NPSHr territory. The situation can be resolved by throttling the discharge valve to reduce the flow to the design level. OR 2. The inlet strainer or filter is plugged. This is common in swimming pool and tower applications where the resulting extreme inlet pressure drop causes cavitation, even with 80 -F water. The solution is to keep the filters and strainers clean. 11

12 Clarifications The graph in Figure 4 applies to water only. For other fluids you will need to find vapor pressure tables specific to that fluid. For most closed heating systems NPSH is not generally a problem. In closed systems, the expansion tank pressure normally establishes the suction pressure to a sufficient level to avoid cavitation. However, when dealing with higher temperatures (above 210 F) and higher NPSH pump (20 or greater) you should run the numbers. You may need a different pump or you may have to carefully size the expansion tank to allow a larger pressure rise as the system heats. This is the calculation for a closed system with expansion tank: (Exp. Tank Pressure Hot in PSIG+ 14.7)/ Inlet Static Ht. -Inlet Friction Vapor Pressure- safety > NPSHr Equation 4 (For vapor pressure, you will need to consult a steam table for vapor pressures outside the limits of the graph presented on page 11). Static height will be the height of the expansion tank above the pump suction, not the height of the system! Special Situations---Dearators and Steam Condensers Note that for closed (non-vented) process systems, such as deaerators and vacuum condensers, the atmospheric pressure is replaced by vapor pressure (fluid in the vessel will evaporate till the pressure above the water equals the vapor pressure). This changes the condition to be met to: (Tank Pressure in PSIG )/ Static Ht. - Friction VP 2 safety > NPSHr Since tank pressure in PSIG )/2.31 = VP, the terms cancel, leaving: Static Height Inlet Friction 2 (safety) > NPSHr Equation 5 The Effect of Speed on Pump Selections The system designer should understand the effect of pump motor speed on selections. Identical pumps perform differently at different speeds. As speed increases, the flow capability increases, the head capability increases more dramatically than speed, and the power required increases even more dramatically than the head capability. The capability of a pump with a given diameter impeller changes as follows: Flow varies proportionally with speed 12

14 In summary, when comparing 1760 RPM selections to 1160 RPM selections, the 1760 RPM pump should always be used if the power requirements are equal. In the case where the 1160 RPM selection is appreciably more efficient, the designer must evaluate energy savings vs. first cost and replacement availability RPM vs RPM In the case of 1760 vs RPM selections, the availability issue is usually not a factor, as both are readily available RPM and 1760 RPM motors cost about the same, but because 3500 RPM selections generally require a smaller pump body, the overall cost differential will almost always favor 3500 RPM. Two additional factors should be considered, however, when considering with 3500 RPM selections: RPM selections tend to be noisier. Many 3500 RPM pumps are installed in industrial applications and boiler rooms. Noise is often not a major concern in these applications RPM pumps aren t noisy compared to other industrial sound sources, such as air compressors and chillers. But it might be a factor in noise-sensitive HVAC applications (when a large pump is located next to an executive office, for example). Elastomer piping connectors (flex connectors) minimize the amount of noise transmitted through the piping system in all cases, but are particularly important in 3500 RPM applications. 2. As a rule, lower speed selections exhibit better NPSHr characteristics. This could be an overriding consideration in certain applications, because the NPSH requirement MUST be met for the pump to operate properly and enjoy a normal service life. 14

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